How to Interact with a Police Officer if you are Pulled Over
Getting pulled over by a police officer can put a major damper on your day. If you are stopped, it is important to understand how to speak to the officer politely and professionally. Remember, the police officer does not know whether you pose a threat when they approach your vehicle. Sadly, officers are regularly attacked during routine traffic stops so they approach every situation with caution. These tips can help keep you safe when speaking with an officer and could potentially prevent a ticket or arrest.
Before the Officer Approaches
Traffic violations law firms recommend that you always turn off the ignition, roll down the window and place your hands on the steering wheel where they can easily be seen. If you are stopped at night, turn on the overhead light and make slow movements. Moving quickly or cramming items under the seat gives the officer probable cause to search the car. Also, never start digging through your car, looking for your registration or driver’s license, until the officer makes this request. They may think you are reaching for a weapon and will respond accordingly.
Another simple but sometimes overlooked tip recommended by NC Greensboro traffic attorneys is to cooperate with the officer’s requests. If asked, give the officer your name and address. The officer does not need to initially tell you why you were stopped, and they can request you exit the car or remain inside. Always remain cordial and do as they say. This is a situation where being polite can only help your cause.
Allow the Officer to Speak
Orange County traffic ticket attorneys NC advise that you always let the officer do the talking. The typical process is a request for your driver’s license and registration. Never act defensively or in a hostile manner. Never push the officer to tell you why you were stopped. Just reply with “OK”, “sure”, or “of course”, and give them the requested documentation. If you need to reach into the glovebox then ask the officer and wait for permission.
An affordable traffic attorney NC will tell you that some officers are trained to act like they will let you off with a warning but only if you are cooperative. The officer may appear open to listening to your version of the events so you will incriminate yourself to use in court. Apologizing and saying something like, “I realize I was speeding but I will be more cautious next time,” proves you are guilty. In some instances, an officer will attempt to get you to admit you were reckless and unsure if you committed the violation. Do not do this.
Simplify the Experience
Never lie to an officer but keep your answers short and to the point. Answers to common questions from the police officer include:
Q: Do you know why I stopped you?
Q: Do you know how fast you were going?
The officer may follow this up with the speed at which you were going but never argue. Your best strategy is to implement reflective listening with responses like “I understand” or “I see” without providing any information. Your other option is to not answer any questions as silence does not equate to guilt in court.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drinking and driving is always a bad idea, but you gain nothing by admitting to drinking. Most states allow drivers to refuse a field sobriety test and are not penalized. However, refusing the test could equate to a higher level of suspicion thus prolonging the stop. If your case goes to court, a prosecutor could tell the jury or judge of your refusal to cooperate.
When blood tests, chemical tests, or breathalyzers are refused, your license will automatically be suspended or revoked for up to a year. The Implied Consent Law states that whenever a license is issued, every driver is automatically consenting to take chemical tests when request by a police officer.
Finding Legal Assistance
If you received a ticket or have been arrested, contact a traffic lawyer Alamance NC or a North Carolina DUI lawyer, like the law office of Tony Huynh to help with your case. An experienced NC DUI attorney can help you through the process including what to expect in court and how to formulate the best possible defense. If you have followed the tips during the stop, you are in a much better position to win the case in court.